God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. John 3:16
He sacrificed for his children.
He is my father. He wakes up early. Eats some food, he provided from his pocket. He is getting ready to go to the store/shop where he is the owner, manager, salesman, utility man, accountant, public relations, etc. He goes to this place not with a car to ride but bundles of textile riding him. He shoulders rolls of materials for jeans and upper wear so his family can shoulder day to day living. He opens and closes the shop as he opens the future for his eight kids. At the end of the day, no beer or any vice to color his monotonous life but rather goes straight home to rest his tired body. No fanfare when he comes home, just a house full of imperfect children. Imperfect as they commit mistakes not following his directions. Milking from his sacrifices day in and day out, they give him reason for him to stop what he is doing but he doesn’t.
I was thinking, how can he do this?
I answered myself — he must have followed God’s footprints.
He gave his only Son for he so loved the world. The world is us. Imperfect us. He rides on the clouds yet our sins burden him. He carried us from our iniquities by giving his Son, his only Son. No day, we don’t falter. No hour, we don’t commit mistakes in his eyes. We justify our action saying we are only humans. Yet, the Father continues to do what he does — loving his imperfect adopted children. And his love is not only given just for us the experience it, it is given for us for our eternal future. The human father works for a limited future for his children, but our heavenly Father works for an unlimited future for you and me. He opened the eternal gates for us to enter through Jesus Christ.
All the Father is asking is for you and me to believe. Believe in the Son he gave. Believe in his great love.
I am thinking, why believe in his love?
I answer my question again…
He sacrificed his only Child.
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah? They went out of the town and came to him. John 4:28-30
This was a field trip.
There was no connection between her and the people. No part of the people were her friend. They ignore her and she ignores them. She was alone at the well taking water.
Check that. She was not alone at the well. She was with Jesus. Being with Jesus made the difference. Speaking with Jesus opened her to a new life. Knowing that Jesus knows her sins yet sat with her and spoke with her mattered to her. He did not ignore her.
It changed her.
She goes to the people. She used to ignore them. She used to go where they aren’t. She gets water when they are all drinking water. But now after meeting Jesus, she goes to them. She spoke with them and breaks the news about the Messiah.
It changed the people.
They listened to her. They don’t used to be near her but now she is inches away from them. They used to talk about her and her husbands but now they are talking to her. Not only that, they believed her that they wanted to know what she knows — the Messiah.
Change brought by Christ brings you out of yourself. Out of your sinful nature. Outside of your comfort area. Out of your dark past. Out of your discriminating norm. Allow yourself to go out of your zone and speak about Christ to your family, friends or neighbors. A group of people may go out of themselves when they hear out someone’s life changing experience with Jesus.
One destination — come to Jesus. One action — out of town.
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah? John 4:28-29
She left her water jar.
This was her only purpose before Jesus met up with her and spoke with her. To fetch water when no one was near the well. When everyone might be having their lunch at their homes, she sneaked to the well. Water was there. The living water was there. Jesus talked about her. Jesus talked about himself. He quenched her thirst, not of her body but of her soul. Thus she forgot about her water jar just as she forgot about her past, about her sin. And know only one thing — knowing the Messiah who took her time and who gave her, her new life.
She was lifted.
No friend to come with her to the well. No husband to hold her hands or hold her jar. At noontime, she was getting water, she is making sure she is not getting attention. She is wrong. Jesus’ attention is on her. He knows her. He knows her dirt, her sins. In spite of, he speaks with her, let her know him. Let her have time with the Messiah whose itinerary is fully booked. Don’t underestimate her minutes with Jesus, for this moments gave her the lift from playing hide and seek. She went into the town and exposed herself to the folks saying, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” From keeping herself out of the crowd, she goes to the crowd. From living in the shadows, she emerged to the light.
Jesus knows your past and he urge you to leave your sins. Leave behind your old self. Leave matters that doesn’t satisfy your thirst. Drink from God’s well. Feast on his feast. Come out from hiding. Come to the Son. Exist for a new purpose. Live a new life. Know Jesus and make him known. Love him and make him loved.
Have you met Jesus? Leave your water jar and be lifted.
Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. Luke 18:10
It’s the study of sinners.
If Jesus is a science teacher, Jesus discusses two species for you to ponder who will you be.
The Pharisee does not expose his sins to God, who knows his sins. He is confident of his righteousness. He is boasting of his work. He comes before God like he is attending a masquerade party, he has a mask. He even points to others and not to himself. He exalts himself, he acts like he is looking to God yet he is looking at himself.
The tax collector exposes himself as a sinner. He is not confident of himself but he is confident of God’s mercy, he is confident God forgives his transgressions. He does not boast of he does or what he did but surely he boasts of God’s merciful work. He comes before God without any cover on his face, he uncovers his sins before God. The tax collector points only to himself as the prime principal of sin. If he is in a police line-up, he declares himself as guilty. As he pinpoints himself, his heart opens up for heavenly grace. He does not exalt himself, he acts like he is looking at himself yet he is looking to God, for his mercy.
At this point, choose who will you be before God. A Pharisee or a tax collector?
Be confident of God’s mercy. Expose your sins and yourself to him for nothing is hidden from him. Depend on his work and not on what you have done or what you can achieve, boast of God ‘s work. Uncover your sins for God loves you in spite of these. If you want to point to someone else, make sure that someone else is you. Exalt God by humbling yourself.
Friends, reflect on how you pray and come before God. Study sinnergy.
He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. Luke 15:28
He must have understood of all people.
After all, he is the big brother. He is the older one. He must have matured throughout the years, since he did not ask for his inheritance just like the younger son. He must have more understanding on how the father felt when his sibling packed his bags and went afar. The father’s loneliness must not have been a secret from him. He might have saw his gloomy eyes at the dinner table. He might have asked his father to take more food as the father seems to have hard time since the departure of his little brother.
His brother was gone for some time. Did he not miss his brother? He might have heard the news about the sad plight of his brother. Did he do something to help him out? Now his brother sits at their home. Did he want to sit with him again? Now his brother needs assurance more than anything else. Did he give it? For all the questions above — No.
His line of thinking was reminiscence of the Pharisees and scribes.
He questions the father’s actions. He lets out his immaturity. He pouts. He is angry. He even stays outside of the house and outside of the family circle. A big brother should look out for his younger blood. He protects them. He cares for them. He looks for their benefits. But not in this case. As his younger sibling is welcomed home and given a feast, he lets go of his being a big brother.
One thing we read is this — “the father came out and pleaded with him”.
The father did not come out of the house when his younger son went out of his way. He did this when the big brother acted like a small child and did not act as a big brother. He does not want his older son to suffer. He does not want his son to be hungry for his love. He does not want his son to be lost. He wants him to be near him. The father knew what was like it, so he did his own his search and rescue. He came out for him. He pleaded with him. A father going after his son. The father’s request for him was not so much to be a big brother but to be a brother.
Before he will be lost, the father found him. So the big brother who became small is not big again but again a brother.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Some are drawing near, yet some are drawing far.
The ones who were closing in to Jesus were sinners. They were publicly identified as sinners. No righteousness in their skin or in their heart. They have no academic knowledge of drawing near to God. All they know is to come closer to Jesus. All they know is that Jesus welcomes them. He searches for them. Jesus ate with them. He walked with them going to a dinner or a teaching session of sorts. He spoke with them in public even if they were known publicly. They felt significant when he is with them, when he took time with them, when he sat with them at the places where they would congregate.
The ones who were drawing far from Jesus were not sinners, at least for them. They were identified as righteous persons. Their piety is shown in their appearances but not sure if it has penetrated their hearts. They have an academic knowledge in drawing near to God. All they know is theory not practicality. That’s why they always put Jesus in the examination room. Yet, Jesus searches for them or they look for Jesus. Wherever they are, Jesus is there. Wherever Jesus is, there they are. Given their position, they should be near to him but they are far. They even question how they spend the Jesus welcomes and eats with the sinners. Not only they are drawing far from him, they are making people draw far from him.
What can you learn from both? You can choose to be near or far to Jesus.
Choose to draw near to Jesus. Accept you are a sinner. Accept you need a Lord and Savior. Accept you need to know him. Listen to him as he declares his unconditional love for you. Listen to Jesus and listen not to people who are putting a gap between you and him. He searches for you, search for him, too.
Don’t draw far from Jesus. Don’t prevent people to come close to him. Jesus left his throne to be near to people, make his trip worthwhile. Even as you grow in Christ, don’t let your head knowledge of him overcome your relationship with him. Let him sit with new members of your church or community. Let him eat with new believers. Be glad, he welcomed you as he welcomes them.
When given a pencil and a clean paper, you know what to sketch. Draw near.